My article titled At 41, I learnt to become an adult in the Wild was posted on SBS Australia Instagram account. Link here. Over the next few days I watched with joy as so many readers and commented about how it resonated with them. It received over a 1000 likes and I gained 40 followers. As a writer I live for these moments when my writing connects and resonates. This has uplifted me and been the beautiful icing on the cake.
"Such a raw truth ..... Beautiful"
"These words hit hard… I’m not there and wonder if I will get there. I’m very happy for you. Thank you for these beautiful words"
"I read this and my heart ached, my throat tightened and my eyes welled with tears."
And one of my Facebook friends wrote a beautiful message that I want recorded for posterity:
"the comments being made all show you hit a theme that is far more powerful than any of us realise until it is upon us. I love the reference to ties with our cultural and familial past. The thought does occur to me that I am 'next next cab off the rank', so I'm ensuring that my children will have less angst at processing mine down the road. So Ams, the role of a good writer is to spark introspective thought - you did that in spades!"
My small press Pishukin Press received a grant from Business Victoria. Read more about it here.
Completed my second memoir writing workshop at Sunshine Library at Brimbank Libraries. Last night we covered incorporating writing strategies to create memorable images. Loving the opportunity to deliver in person creative writing workshops.
Next week we will look at narrative arc and workshop 4 is about submitting for publication and we will work on developing a piece. This week we zoomed so participant who couldn’t come in person still attended. These workshops are offered as part of the Libraries after Dark program events and funded by Creative Brimbank.
My latest SBS article about the process of untethering myself from obligation after my mother's death. Read it here.
So what an amazing way to end the working week. I did my first memoir workshop at Brimbank last night and met so many amazing emerging writers. Was floating all day from feeding off the energy and inspiration of everyone there. And now my radio interview with 3CR has dropped and it also features author Gabrielle Wang, who is so amazing. And I've been featured in an Arts Hub interview by the beautiful and talented Thuy On. Thank you so much for shining a light on self publishing. So, I'm just kind of floating in outerspace right now.
So happy to be featured in Star Weekly newspaper about my books and upcoming workshop. Read here.
An independent author, or an indie author as we refer to ourselves, is an author who chooses to self publish. One of my favourite self publishing podcasts, Self Publishing Formula, has a tagline that says, ‘It’s never been a better time to be a self published author’ and that is true.
There is a large and robust indie community, authors who the mainstream publishing industry are unaware of, who make a living from their writing by self publishing. Over the last few years, as the Australian publishing industry contracted and getting publishing contract became harder and harder, I began investigating self publishing and psyching myself to make the launch. And after months of research and preparation, I finally launched myself into the indie world by publishing my first book, The Cuckoo’s Song, my short story collection of previously published and prize-winning stories and have re-released my debut novel as Sabiha's Dilemma.
Being a small press
One of the things I have struggled with in making the transition to self published is transitioning also to marketing. It seems somehow excruciating to promote my own book. In my traditionally published career this was always the domain of the publicist. I knew this was a hurdle that would hold me back from truly being able to make this a success.
So I found a work-around. I was not just going to be an indie author, I was going to be a small press owner. I was not just learning about self publishing for myself, instead I was exploring the possibility of being able to either publish others or provide self publishing services, once I become a successful small press.
Once I made this decision, it seemed easier to launch into my indie career because it wasn’t just about me, it was about more than me. I’m married to an incredibly talented short story writer, Fikret Pajalic, and have always wanted to see his work published in a short story collection, so he is going to be my first ‘author.’
I attended the Small Press Network Conference and watched a talk by a library distributor who explained the importance of producing a quality product. He held up a book that was self published and pointed out all the ways that it was on par with a traditionally published book, and that the only difference was the lack of a logo on the spine. And that was the final piece of the puzzle. I created an imprint name, commissioned a logo from a graphic artist, and set about creating the foundation for my small press.
The name Pishukin came from a term of endearment that I call my daughter. The logo is a homage to her mother who loved peacocks and was created by designer Cuba DeSilva.
Being truly independent
Book publishing has costs associated wth it: from cover design, to book formatting, to purchasing of ISBNs, paying for proof copies and paying to upload files to Ingram Spark, not to mention editing and proofreading. My day job as a teacher pays my daily life expenses and my self publishing has to be funded by my other writing income: freelance writing, mentoring, delivering writing workshops like the upcoming one at Sunshine Library by the Brimbank City Council in June 2022.
I am approaching my new career by exploring the ‘independent’ aspect to its fullest by upskilling myself so that I can undertake as many of these tasks as possible for myself and purchasing software and products that will support this.
I am also using my skills as a teacher and experience in writing teaching notes for other publishers to create teaching notes for all my young adult titles to distribute to schools.
As an indie author there are a few business models to consider:
I am focussing on wide distribution and trying to set up accounts with individual publishing platforms so I can learn how to access their internal promos to sell.
Pishukin Press books are distributed by Ingram Spark and published on all major platforms: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Google Books.
Being truly independent
I am also focussed on true sustainability of my publishing imprint, so being able to provide services that other publishing platforms cannot, as well as providing the best price for my products. Currently when my books are distributed to various platforms the prices vary widely, anywhere from $22 to $30+, and then there are shipping costs.
To that end I have set up my own shop to sell books directly to readers internationally with shipping set up for USA, Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Bosnia and Hercegovina. If you are in a zone outside of these regions and would like to order a paperback direct please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject: Shipping Zones and let me know which shipping zone we need to create to cater for you.
I am also able to provide discounts to readers, currently there is a 20% discount on ebooks if you type the discount code PISHUKIN.
Being traditionally published was wonderful as it provided me with a solid foundation to develop my craft, networks and an understanding of the publishing industry. Now I am able to apply that foundation and forge my own path as an entrepreneur and creator. I have so many exciting things planned for the future. Watch this space as I learn and grow.
Very excited to be delivering Memoir Writing workshops at Sunshine Library for participants to attend for free. This four week workshop will be a deep dive into developing a piece for publication.
Workshops are Thursday 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd June from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.
You only need to register for Session 1 to attend all 4 sessions.
Numbers limited, bookings essential. Light refreshments included
My latest article in SBS Voices is honouring my friendship with my bestie Veronica Ho. So happy that it was published and that these photos showing us over the years. Read here.
I am an author, reader and teacher.
Sign up and receive a free short story Suicide Watch from my book The Cuckoo's Song featuring some of my previously published and prize-winning stories. Suicide Watch features Sabiha, the protagonist from, Sabiha's Dilemma, from a scene cut from the novel. You will also receive a self publishing checklist.